October 2013 accessibility forum
16 October 2013
Passenger Focus has been meeting with national groups representing disabled passengers for eight years. Recently we formalised this meeting to focus on information about campaigns, concerns, improvements and research.
The latest forum took place on 1 October at our offices in Lo0ndon, and was well-attended by industry and national organisations representing disabled people. We welcomed Mencap which had sent representatives for the first time as there are plans to work on transport issues in the near future.
David Sindall from the Association of Train Operating Companies ( ATOC) told the group ATOC was considering a centralised booking system for assistance, and is also working to develop an accessibility map that shows both national rail and London Underground facilities. He was pleased to advise that there are now 150,000 Disabled Persons Railcards in circulation, and that they are used to make 4.5 million journeys a year.
John Trippier from the Office of Rail Regulation ( ORR) updated the forum that responsibility for the Disabled Persons’ Protection Policy is now moving back to ORR. It is already responsible for Rail Vehicle Regulation. ORR recognises that many people want a walk-up service for assistance, without having to book ahead, and will be looking at this. It will be consulting widely on a number of issues.
Richard Harris from RNIB told the group that his organisation is moving into the second phase of the Stop for me, speak to me campaign. It will be asking bus operators to sign up to some passenger pledges.
Barbara Bedford from First Bus told the meeting that her company was working to develop its communication, bus design and staff training to deliver even better services to disabled passengers. Working with Age UK and the Alzheimer’s Association, it has developed a training package especially designed to assist passengers with mental health issues.